Coconut Crusted Tofu

IMG_5302

So apparently none of my roommates like tofu. I learned quickly when I made this dinner, at first I thought, well I think I can convert them when they try this. It is so good! I can not image anyone not liking this, sweet, savory, Asian inspired tofu dish. Unfortunately, no one even tried it, so I did not get the chance to prove that Tofu can be good! I made this dish a second time to double check my recipe and finally convinced my wonderful roommate to try it. Lets just say we have a convert, and she went back for seconds!!  Don’t worry I enjoyed every minute of this amazing dinner on my own while they ate frozen dinners (the first time through). I’m not bitter or anything ;)

IMG_5277I think most people don’t like tofu because of the texture. But the best part about this is when it is rolled in the coconut and stir-fried it has crusty edges, add the peanuts and kale and you get the crunch I think many tofu dishes are missing. I used sautéed kale as a base for the tofu. I would definitely not skip on this. It adds nice texture and flavor to the tofu. From what I have gathered most people don’t like tofu because of the texture. But the best part about this is when it is rolled in the coconut and stir-fried it has crusty edges, add the peanuts and kale and you get the crunch I think many tofu dishes are missing. Sautéing the kale in sesame oil is my go-to, and I am pretty much obsessed with it. The kale in this dish it adds a nice asian flavor, and saltiness that complements the sweet coconut and peanuty dressing perfectly.
IMG_5281I am not a vegetarian but I also do not eat a lot of meat. The only time I really even buy or cook any type of meat is when I am cooking for other people. Tofu is a great protein alternative that does not have to be intimidating. It is quick and easy to prepare and a versatile ingredient. So, I dare you, if you have never tired cooking tofu or if you are a tofu hater, try this recipe and let me know what you think! It can’t hurt you and ya never know, you might find out its not as bad as you thought.  IMG_5306

The Recipe:

1/2 bunch kale

2 Tbs Sesame Oil

1/4 cup pistachios, roughly chopped

1/4 tsp garlic salt

pinch of pepper

14 oz (1 pkg) Firm or extra firm tofu

1/4 cup soy sauce

1/4 cup sesame oil (you can also use EVOO it just wont have as much nutty flavor)

1/4 cup white wine vinegar

2 Tbs honey or brown rice syrup

1 Tbs Thai chili sauce (more if you want to add a little kick)

1/3 cup coconut oil (again you can use EVOO but it has a lower smoke point and less nutty flavor)

1 cup unsweeted coconut flakes

1 Tbs sesame seeds

2 Tbs all natural peanut butter

2 Tbs dry roasted peanuts, roughly chopped

Directions:

1. Wash and tear leaves off kale steams. Add to sauté pan and toss with sesame oil, garlic salt and pepper. Sauté on medium-high heat until slightly wilted, about 10 minutes. I like mine to stay a little crunchy. Add chopped pistachios about halfway through cooking, if you add them too soon they tend to burn a little.

2. For tofu- drain and cut into small 1″ cubes. Place on a paper towel and pat dry. Meanwhile in a medium bowl whisk together soy sauce, sesame oil, white wine vinegar, honey or brown rice syrup, and Thai chili sauce. Marinate tofu in this mixture for about 10-15 minutes.

3. Mix coconut flakes and sesame seeds in a small bowl or plate. Roll the marinated tofu cubes in the mixture to coat well. I will warn you, the mixture does not stick super well but don’t worry, it will still turn out.

4. Heat coconut oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add tofu pieces and cook until golden brown, flipping throughout- about every 5 minutes so you get them nice and crispy on all sides. If the coconut flakes are falling off, don’t worry I just let them sauté and added them back on top of my plate at the end.

5. While tofu is cooking take 1/3 cup of the marinade and add 2 Tbs of peanut butter, to make a peanut sauce. If you prefer a thicker and more creamy sauce add more peanut butter until you get the desired consistency.

6. Plate the kale and pistachios, top with tofu, sauce and chopped peanuts.

 

Enjoy! ~ Amanda

 

Charred Parmesan Cauliflower

Summer is in full swing here in DC. This is my second summer here and must say I am still getting used to the heat and humidity. Coming from Seattle where there is close to no humidity and mid-seventies almost everyday, my body is not used to high 80′s and 90′s with 50% humidity. Not complaining or anything, just still realizing that it is ok to be inside sometimes in the summer. When there is only have about 2 1/2 months of sunshine out of the year, like in Seattle and Michigan, I get major anxiety about being indoors in the summer. If I am not outside at all moments of sunshine I feel like I am wasting precious weather. But in DC I am realizing even though it is sunny, sometimes staying inside is a ok!

raw cauliflower

The good thing about this area is that you can find a farmers market to go to pretty much any day of the week. If you live in the area there are two big markets “groups” the FreshFarm Markets and the other is Central Farm Markets. All of the markets have a variety of produce, many times even things I have never tried or at least that you will not find at the grocery store. So this past week I tried Yellow Cauliflower.

close cauliflower

Yellow cauliflower is not noticeably different than white or even purple cauliflower, besides the color obviously. It has a similar taste and cooks similarly as well, the best thing about it is that with the color comes a higher Vitamin A content! So I encourage you to try the different varieties if you see them next time your at the market!

This recipe is incredibly easy to make (thus perfect for the hot summer!) No need to even do any chopping, how much easier does it get?!foil and cauliflower

charred cauliflowerThe Recipe:

1 head of cauliflower

3 Tbs Olive oil

1/4 cup or more of fresh grated parmesan (you can get pre-shredded but I used the hard block, it is so much more fresh tasting)

2 Tbs oregano

1 Tbs Garlic

Dash of Salt and Pepper, and I added red pepper flakes for a little bit of a kick

Directions:

1. Pre-heat grill to medium-high.

2. Brush olive oil over the head of cauliflower.

3. Sprinkle herbs, spices and parmesan evenly over the entire top. Wrap completely with tin foil.

4. Place the wrapped cauliflower directly on the grill. Close the grill and cook for about 15 minutes. Flip over and continue grilling for about another 10-15min. Check to see if cauliflower is charred. Once it is tender and charred it is ready to be taken off the grill.

Enjoy! ~Amanda

 

 

Grilled Chipotle Shrimp

eyelevel shrimp

Lets all face it, Monday’s are just not exciting. No one is relieved and happy the weekend is over, and who makes plans for a Monday night? This Monday was no different. I sat at my desk on a beautiful, perfect DC spring/ summerish day of 77 with no humidity!! – we get about 3 days a year like this. All I could think about was being outside and grilling a summery, seafood dinner. Now usually we don’t end up cooking anything fun on Mondays, if anything. Finishing up our leftovers and watching TV is more typical. But I walked in the door with bags overflowing with fresh produce, seafood and wine, exited about having a Sunday like feast on an otherwise dull Monday night. Funny enough my roommate Hannah was thinking the same thing. It must be the weather, it brings out the cheer in everyone, even on a Monday.angled shirmp

Hannah and I started laughing when we saw each other walking up to the front door, hands full of groceries. Both having the same idea of cooking up a storm. We ended up making grilled Salmon, shrimp, roasted corn salad, vegetable orzo, and roasted rosemary roasted red potatoes. Sorry I don’t have all the recipes, but I figured I would share the shrimpy recipe with you. Needless to say it ended up being a FABULOUS Monday night, with great company, mouthwatering food and plenty of wine :) Even if we were exhausted on Tuesday, it was so worth it!!

This shrimp is really healthy, no added sugar, no butter (so juicy you don’t even need any, trust me!) cilantro and herbs add anti-oxidants, tons of nutrients and an extra fresh flavor. You can eat it as an appetizer, main dish, or side dish to any summer party!

close shrimp shrimp plateThe Recipe:

3/4 lb fresh, shell on shrimp – I always try and go for shell on if it is available. When it cooks the shell keeps all of the juicy and flavor in rather than having the shrimp dry out leaving all of the good stuff dripping on the grill. So what if its a little messy that’s half the fun!!

3 garlic cloves

1 1/2 Tbs. chipotle powder

1/2 bunch or about 1/4 cup cilantro, finely chopped

1/2 cup olive oil

salt and pepper

1. Roughly chop the garlic and add all ingredients to a container or ziploc bag to marinate shrimp. 1-2 hours is best.

2. Preheat grill to medium-high.

3. Either skewer shrimp or add to grill basket and grill until golden about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes on each side.

4. Remove shrimp from grill and garnish with cilantro.

ENJOY!! ~ Amanda

grillin out

 

 

Carrot and Kale Farmers Market Pizza and Eating Local

on the grill

Shopping local may be trendy, and there are people weighing the pros and cons. Here is my list of the benefits of choosing local and seasonal foods-

1. It tastes better- Crops are picked at peak ripeness and have a shorter time between farm and your house. Farmers take pride in the products they are selling, fresh made cheese, yogurts and meats will be processed nearby and fresh. The quality of what goes into the products are many times superior in quality and taste. Not only will it taste better but it lose less nutrients as well.

2. Supports Local Families and small businesses- buying directly from farmers cuts out the middle man and the farmer gets all of the profits, this helps families grow their business and keep their land.

3. Builds community- Get to you know your local farmers market vendor, you can gain insight into growing seasons, agriculture and many times even get cooking tips!

4. Preserves genetic diversity- Plant varieties are often times limited in large-scale production because they are chosen for their ability to ripen, withstand packing and provide a long shelf life. Smaller farms often grown many varieties to provide a long harvest time, with heirloom varieties and an array of colors you may not find at the grocery store.

5. Investing in the future- By supporting small farms today you are helping to ensure we will have community farms in the future.

6. Helps diversify your diet-With the array of colors, variety and ever changing seasonal foods, it helps you try new foods to give you all the nutrients you need for a healthy, colorful diet!!

Now for the yummy stuff…. this is as Steph and my roommate put it– some of the best pizza ever! It has a balance of sweet and savory flavors, perfectly charred from throwing it straight on the grill. I bought whole wheat pizza dough from the grocery store and it worked just fine. I like to make my own, but it takes a while and if you don’t plan ahead on a weeknight its nearly impossible unless you decide to eat at 11pm.

The Recipe:

1 whole wheat pizza crust

1 bunch of carrots (about 8 large)

2 zucchini

2 cloves garlic

1 bunch of kale

2 Tbs coconut oil

1/4 cup Olive Oil (split)

1/4 cup pistachios, roughly chopped

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, sliced

1/8 cup fresh parmesan

pinch of oregano, salt and pepper

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 400 F. Cut carrots and zucchini lengthwise and toss with olive oil, salt, pepper and place on baking sheet. Roast in the oven for 15 minutes or until soft.

2. Meanwhile, roll pizza crust out on a well floured surface. Sprinkle corn flour on baking sheet or pizza stone (if you don’t have corn flour regular flour works as well). When veggies are done roasting place pizza in oven for about 10 minutes or until partly cooked.

3. Remove carrots and place in a blender with garlic cloves, puree adding olive oil as needed until smooth and a spreadable consistency.

4. Heat coconut oil and 1 Tbs. olive oil in a skillet. Add kale with garlic powder, salt and pepper. When kale is about 1/2 way wilted, add chopped pistachios to the pan. Continue to cook kale until wilted, stirring occasionally.

5. Preheat the grill. Take the crust out of the oven when partially cooked (the top center will still be doughy), brush with olive oil and oregano (I added red peppers too, for a little kick). Spread carrot “sauce” over the crust, top with kale, zucchini, tomatoes, and fresh parmesan.  Place pizza directly on hot grill, close the lid and let cook until a little charred on the bottom and cheese is melted, about 10 minutes.

suate kale

close pizza

pizza close up

grabbing pizza

Enjoy! Amanda

Thai Xing Birthday Dinner

Sooooo, its been a while, and a lot has happened recently, as always. As my dad often likes to say, “there is never a dull moment” or “it’s hard to keep up with you girls” between the three of us something life changing is always going on. Lets just say we don’t sit around and do nothing very often. Whenever birthdays come around it is hard not to reflect on all the changes that have happened in the past year. So here is the list of my very busy year:

- Moved into a new house.

- Katie moved to DC and then back to MI.

- We started a juice company, (with many learning curves and new experiences to say the least).

- All three of us have started new jobs.

- A new roommate moved in, with a new dog.

- Adopted a cat.

- Been to countless new restaurants (crossed some major ones off my DC list :) ), travelled to Italy, and have cooked up a storm.

My goal now is to start posting more often (at least once a week!) about all of these experiences. We are always cooking, eating and taking pictures and it just seems I never get around to posting about it. So here is the first of hopefully at least 52 posts I will make this year.

thai xingThai Xing has been on my list of DC restaurants to try since my coworker told me about it last year. It has so much character and is unlike any other restaurant I have been to in this area. Completely covered with green plants, from the moment you enter the small row house in the Shaw district you feel transported to someone’s house in Thailand. Mismatching chairs, BYOB (one of the few I have found in DC!!), food served family style, set menu (takes the stress away from me, because I can never decide what to order) this is the perfect place for my birthday dinner with friends. Thanks to my roommates, who know me so well, they made reservations a month in advance to secure us a spot this week!

With a pre-set menu and a different selection each day, you never know what you will get. Be sure to check out the website  to investigate the different options each night of the week- some nights are vegan/vegetarian while others are meat and seafood.

Overall we had a great birthday dinner, this is a must try in DC as far as I’m concerned!

Starter course of cold spiralized veggie noodles, tomatoes and spicy peanut sauce. It was not as heavy or sweet as most thai peanut sauces, just light with right amount of spice. I can just imagine eating this on the beach in Thailand and having it be perfectly refreshing on a hot, humid day. 

peanut saladPumpkin Curry – this is a staple dish and will always be offered as it is one of the most famous dishes at the restaurant and for good reason. Rated by the Washington Post as “Top 40 Dishes you Shouldn’t Live Without!” Sweet, rich pumpkin with fresh thai basil to balance the flavor, this was no doubt a favorite of mine!
pumpkin curryFull thai fish with spicy sauce and herbs. Light and melt in your mouth texture.
fish

dinner

Dessert was absolutely mouthwatering and amazing. Hannah and I literally could not stop eating it, despite how full we were by the time it came out. Coconut sticky rice with mango and berries. I have never had sticky rice cooked so perfectly. Thinking about it now makes we want to go back for 6 more courses of , if only for this! 
dessert

 

/rô/ juice

IMG_4031As you can tell it has been a VERY long time since our last post. You may know, we have been busy on another venture and sadly neglected/ have not had time to update our blog. So here it is, /rô/ juice (pronounced “raw”) is the company we have started. It has taken off more quickly than expected and it has been a tremendous amount of work but it is all worth it.

We are producing, bottling and selling 100% organic, cold-pressed juice. There is no pasteurization and no sugar or water added, it is simply fruit and vegetable juice bottled up with loads of health benefits, and of course amazingly delicious! We have been taking online orders and shipping throughout the DC, Maryland, and Virginia area.

Since all of us sisters and our roommate/ good friend, are now living under one roof we decided what better time to do what we have always talked about doing, start a company! So please, check us out at rojuice.com , follow us on instagram, twitter, and facebook! More updates to come!ro fam bw (1)

Oatmeal Pear Pancakes

5 weddings down, a family trip to Italy (posts on that coming soon!), pumpkins at the markets, and cooler nights; summer is officially winding down fall is finally here!  The best part about fall is the food, no doubt. I woke up early, as I usually do, unfortunately since waking up at 5am on the weekdays, 7-8am feels like a real treat. SO while my sisters/ roommates are still asleep I decide to make a wonderful fall breakfast, what else am I going to do to occupy the next 2 hours until normal 20 somethings wake up?! There is something about surprising people with breakfast too.  Everyone wakes up, smells cinnamon and nutmeg and gets excited to eat, recover from last night and relax on a Saturday morning.

pearspancake batter So to ring in the new season I decided to make healthy (ier) delicious oatmeal pancakes topped with sauteed pears, toasted walnuts and real maple syrup. They turned out amazing!! Can’t wait to make them again soon.

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stack of pancakes
pancakescut pancakes

The Recipe 

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 cup old fashioned oats

1 tbls brown sugar

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

3/4 cup buttermilk

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp nutmeg

2 tbls vegetable oil

1 egg

 For Topping:

3 pears

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup walnuts, chopped

Directions:

  1. Place flour, oats, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, buttermilk, vanilla, oil and egg in a food processor and puree until smooth.
  2. Cut pears into small cubes and heat sugar in a medium saute pan. Add pears and saute on medium-high heat until golden in color and semi-soft.
  3. Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium high heat. Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/4 cup for each pancake. Brown on both sides, top with sauteed pears and walnuts, serve hot.

Enjoy! Amanda

Soft Shell Crab and Corn Salad

Katie and I are both still relatively new to the DC area… meaning we have never been on the east coast during soft shell crab season. We planned a trip to the Fish Market that ended up being so beautiful! I couldn’t believe this gem was 2 blocks from where I work and I never knew it (I guess I need to get out more!) Anyway, it is a must see for anyone that lives in the DC area and has never been. Great prices, great looking seafood and very friendly fishermen:)

Captain white sign soft shell crabs alivegrabbing crabs fish at market Craps in a basket

There is something about open air markets in the summer time that I think everyone loves. Picking out your own produce and fresh fish from whichever vendor looks the best. Being out in the fresh air is always the best part. So we ended up getting 6 crabs frying them up with fresh raw corn salad. Went at it with a bottle of white wine in hand and thoroughly enjoying eating way to much.  Beware of the mustard (yellow stuff) in the body of the crabs. It looks gross and tastes more fishy than the rest of the crab. Steph saw it right off the bat and couldn’t eat any more crab unfortunately. If you are not grossed out by it, the mustard is perfectly fine to eat.

dipped crab

Frying crab

We served the crab with toasted corn tortillas topped with corn salsa and fresh squeezed lime. Just sitting here now writing about it, I wish I were sitting outside again enjoying the meal. corn saladcorn saladfull meal

The Soft Shell Crab Recipe:

6 soft shells crabbies

1 1/2 cups of flour

1/2 cup buttermilk

2 eggs

1 Tbs Old Bay Seasoning

salt and pepper

4 cups oil for frying

Directions

Whisk together eggs and buttermilk. Mix flour with Old Bay and a dash of salt and pepper. Dip each crab in buttermilk mixture and then coat with flour.

Heat skillet with oil on medium high hear until small bubbles form at the bottom of the pan. Place crabs in the heated skillet and fry until golden brown about 2 minutes on each side.

The Corn Salad Recipe:

3 ears raw corn

1 cup black beans

1 avocado

Juice from 1 lime

1 jalapeno, chopped

3 Tbs fresh cilantro

2 tsp red pepper flakes

Directions:

Husk and cut off kernels from the corn cob. Add the remaining ingredients and mix. Let marinate for at least 15 minutes.

Sweet Corn and Raspberry Syrup Ice Cream with Macadamia Nut Crumble

Ice cream and Caramel

We have a bit of a corn obsession in our house. I mean who doesn’t love fresh sweet corn, especially this time of year? Raw corn, grilled corn, boiled corn, popcorn, corn bread, the list goes on like bubba gump and shrimp. So why not sweet corn ice cream?! Lets just say OMG, so good! Katie and I took one bite, closed our eyes and smiled. With corn in season it adds the perfect amount of sweet flavor, we picked up the raspberries at the farmers market and reduced them into a super easy sauce. To add a little crunch we made a macadamia nut crumble, to top it off, our mom got us Happy Goat Caramel Sauce for a house warming gift that we heated up and drizzled over the top, yeah it was stinkin’ good.Blackraspberry syrup

We went to Union Market in D.C. to get fresh local milk (if you are in D.C. or visit I recommend stopping by, it is excellent!). The recipe is from adopted from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream Cookbook, the same base recipe as the Chocolate Stout Ice Cream I posted. Her recipes are obviously my fave!
corn
Ice Cream in Tub
Ice cream with Crumble

The Ingredients:

Ice Cream Base:

1 ear sweet corn, husked

2 Cups Whole Milk

1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon cornstarch

1 1/2 ounces (3 T) cream cheese softened

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1 1/4 cups heavy cream

2/3 cups sugar

2 tablespoons light corn syrup

Raspberry Sauce:

2 cups raspberries

1 cup sugar

Macadamia Nut Crumble

1 cup macadamia nuts- roughly chopped

1/4 cup sugar

The Recipe:

Prep: Slice the kernels from the corn cob, then “milk” the cob by scraping with the back of your knife to extract the liquid; reserve the kernels and liquid.

mix 2 tablespoons of the milk with the cornstarch in a small bowl to make a slurry.

Whisk the cream cheese and salt in a medium bowl until smooth. Fill a large bowl with ice and water.

Combine the remaining milk, cream, corn and juices, sugar, and corn syrup in a 4-quart saucepan, bring to a boil over medium high heat, and boil for 4 minutes.

Strain the milk mixture through a sieve to remove corn pieces.

Return the cream mixture to the saucepan and gradually whisk in the cornstarch slurry. Bring back to a boil over medium-high heat and cook, stirring with a rubber spatula, until slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat.

Gradually whisk the hot milk mixture into the cream cheese until smooth. Pour the mixture into a 1-gallon ziploc freezer bag and submerge the sealed bag into the ice bath. Let stand, adding more ice as needed until cold, about 30 minutes.

For the Sauce:

Combine berries and sugar in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Continue boiling, stirring occasionally, until heat reaches 220 degrees F (5-8 minutes). Let cool slightly, then force through a sieve to remove the seeds. Refrigerate until cold before using.

For Crumble:

Heat sugar and macadamia nuts in a skillet until toasted, approximately 7-10 minutes. Watch closely not to burn, they will heat quickly.

Pour the ice cream base into the frozen canister and spin until thick and creamy. Pack the ice cream and add the sauce and crumble in layers, to the into a storage container, press a sheet of parchment directly against the surface and seal with an airtight lid. Freeze in the coldest part of your freezer until firm, at least 4 hours.

Enjoy!

~Amanda

Watermelon Vodka Spritzer

Close up above cocktails

This is Katie and my first “DC Summer” and I am not sure if I am prepared for the heat and humidity everyone is talking about. I figured to make it through this season I need to embrace cocktails, shouldn’t be too difficult :) Most of the time, cocktails are too sweet and heavy for me, you can only have one and who wants just one?  Nothing screams refreshing like a crisp watermelon. We are successfully growing a basil plant so why not incorporate that as well. What became of all of this, on a hot Saturday afternoon (it’s 5 o’clock somewhere right…?) A refreshing, not too sweet, amazingly delicious Watermelon Vodka Spritzer.

Fresh Watermelon
mixing

Watermelon has to be crisp, juicy, and bright pink to really be good, otherwise it can be almost inedible. One way to test for a ripe watermelon is to knock on the outside, if it sounds hollow it is probably ripe. This time of year it is pretty easy to find the perfect watermelon. I set out a bowl to munch on along with our cocktails.
2 finished drinksDrinks

Watermelon Vodka Spritzer
Makes 2 cocktails
Ingredients
1 cup watermelon
3-4 shots vodka
1 cup soda water
1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lime juice
1 tablespoon basil
Directions
Cut watermelon in to 1 inch chunks, add to cocktail shaker and muddle. Add remaining ingredients and ice and shake well. Strain and pour over ice. Enjoy!!